The 2013 Ashes best and fairest: Mancunian Dar

The Ashes roadshow- a convoy carrying the best of Pom and Aussie cricket with an additional trailer for Kevin Pietersen’s ego- has now rumbled through Old Trafford, on the way creating unprecedented interest that even had Wayne Rooney reconsidering his request to relocate.

As per expectations, the third Test had the good citizens of Manchester on an uncontrollable five day fizz.

They flocked in grand numbers, parting with considerable quid to spend their days booing David Warner and his evil moustakka, with the hope of catching a spot of cricket in between.

For the duration of the clash, the Pimms-drenched outer was abuzz with topical cricketing curiosities.

Could England retain the Urn quick-stix just three games in to the series? Could Australia occupy the crease for longer than the recommended microwaving time of a chicken hero? And of course, which particular ambitious participant would be making the steamiest bedroom eyes at The Dar?

The first award for outstanding achievement in the field of individual excellence in Ashes cricket, inspired by it’s Australian footballing cousins, obtusely inflated in importance by yours truly and unfortunately named, has charmed the public like a Gallagher brother on a bender.

And in a town known for its volatile footballers and violent family music acts, it seems apt that those wielding the bashing implements dominated the best and fairest charts over the five days in Manchester.

Clarke was back in his rightful place at Old Trafford: carrying the team.

Clarke was back in his rightful place at Old Trafford: carrying the team.

Alas, Australia’s reconciliation with their old friend willow, along with a series of moral victories, was unfortunately not enough to avoid yet another sad Urn sayonara, but it did buy them large scale Dar domination in the wash-up.

This is the pick of the bunch from the drawn third Test.

5 – Michael Clarke

Gritted the teeth and bare-knuckled his way through a scratchy start to post an eight-hour beauty, ultimately putting his team firmly in pole position while furthering the gap in popularity between him and his nemesis Shane Watson.

One tip for the skipper though; next time David Warner wants a review, pretend like you are speaking to Marais Erasmus.

4 – Kevin Pietersen

Was back to his destructive best in the first innings, balancing grit with glitz to save his team’s bacon.

In the aftermath of day three, the Old Dart was back to being all KP-cuddly again as evidenced in the glowing feedback from some of his biggest fans, one of the more notable being this email from a ‘Smitten Kev’ in Surrey:

“Wow, some of that strokeplay by me- sorry, him- was the greatest in the game’s history. And a very handsome and humble man to boot. Outstanding cricketer? Don’t stop there, he’s an outstanding human being. To be honest, he really deserves the captaincy.”

3 – Chris Rogers

Who was that flashy bloke who plundered an entertaining 84 in the first innings? The one who gave Jimmy Anderson some classy tap and made him look schoolboy grade? And went at nearly a run a ball?

If I didn't know better, I'd swear KP is trying to pash himself. And he is.

If I didn’t know better, I’d swear KP is trying to pash himself. And he is.

It couldn’t have been Rogers, as he is usually stodge personified, but we’ll give him the votes anyway because we couldn’t get hold of the gawky bloke wearing the 1993 armguard who claimed to be him on day one.

2 – Brad Haddin

Put himself on the provisional ballot for Dar-time in the early stages with a free-flowing 65 that added cream to the first innings, a vintage display that included six boundaries and a showcase of all of his dapper demolition man qualities.

The evergreen custodian then completed his demand for inclusion in the top five with seven dismissals behind the pegs including an acrobatic leg-sider to see off Alastair Cook.

1 – Steve Smith

It’s hard to believe, but this sulfur-crested dynamo is fast becoming one of the more sturdier pillars of the Aussie batting lineup after another encouraging return of 89.

Some starry-eyed followers are going out on a limb, stating this could be the embryonic stages of our next Test captain. To those people, I implore you to ease up. He needs to refuse a request for homework and threaten to quit before the selectors offer him that kind of regal role.

After three Tests, there’s a chasing pack nibbling on the heels of the leading hamster.

8 – Ian Bell

5 – James Anderson
Michael Clarke
Joe Root

4 – Kevin Pietersen

3 – Brad Haddin
Chris Rogers
Graeme Swann
Peter Siddle

2 – Ashton Agar
Ryan Harris

1 – Jonny Bairstow
Steve Smith

Here’s the first Test votes here, and the second Test votes here. And you can follow me on Twitter here. 

 

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